Many reasons have been suggested by historians as the causes of Second World War. However, it is evident that World war two served as the peak of the interwar period. The main causes which led to World War II include;
This treaty was signed in Paris, France in 1919 when the victorious countries had a meeting to confer about peace settlement and how the Germans will be made to compensate other countries against world war one damages. The meeting was dominated by US president, Woodrow Wilson, Britain Prime Minister, David Lloyd George and Georges Clemenceau of France (Overy 38). However, Germany had no invitation to the meeting. During the signing of the treaty the following recommendations were made;
Germany to take responsibility for causing the World War I.
Germany to pay £ 6,600 for the costs caused by World War I.
Some part of German land was taken away from them and given to other nations.
The Germans were ordered to trim down the size of its army and to have not more than 6 naval ships. In addition, they were not allowed to have submarines, tanks or an airforce.
Consequently, the Germans were not happy about the recommendations of the treaty claiming that it was too harsh for them. During the 1920s, the Germans were extremely poor thus not able to pay the damages because there were few jobs and the cost of living was very high. This angered the Germans thus made them wait for a chance to revenge.
Failure of the League of Nations to sustain the peace.
The League of Nations was formed in 1919 to help in upholding the world peace. It was meant to solve disputes any disputes between the member countries failure to which the aggressive country will face trade sanctions or military action if the sanctions fail (Ross 13).
The great depression resulted in Japan invading Manchuria, China a place rich in mineral resources (Ross 14). China as a result, made an appeal for help to the League of Nation. The League of Nations ordered Japan to withdraw it soldiers but instead they decided to quit the League. Italy invaded Abyssinia in 1995, but trade sanction could help because Italy could instead trade with non member states including America (Overy 56). These incidences show that the League of Nations failed to fulfill its obligation. The reasons which led to the failure of the League of Nations include;
Not all nations joined the League of Nations and these affected its functioning. These countries include USA, Russia and Germany.
The League had minimal powers. Trade sanctions did not work because the aggressive country will trade with non members.
The league was not able to act quickly because of the meetings held before a decision is made.
The league had no army thus limiting its powers.
The failure by the League of Nations to achieve disarmament motive led to arms race because every country made a realization that they would have to fight in a war. This contributed to the occurrence of the Second World War.
In 1937 Neville chamberlain became the prime minister of Britain and the policy of appeasing Germany followed. France and Britain did not believe that Germany under the leadership of Hitler would cause war. They could effortlessly stop Hitler before German became strong; however Hitler’s strategy of avoiding violence helped him increase German’s military might, until it became too late to prevent him (Ross 23). This made Hitler believe that no one could stop him, and this made him go further. The appeasement became a catalyst to an outbreak of war.
Effects of Second World War
The magnitude of the impacts of the World War Two was greater than the World War One. The effects of the World War II include.
1. Death and Devastation.
Throughout the war period, many lives were lost, and a lot of homes and assets were damaged. Many people became refugees, and the economies of most European countries’ economies were weakened.
2. Emergence of USA and USSR as the world super powers.
After the war, USA and USSR became the superpowers and moved in the opposite directions. The misunderstandings over the treaties with Japan, Germany and Austria and the aggressive actions by USSR in the Eastern Europe lead to tension between the Super Powers thus resulting in the cold war (Ross 52).
3. The Formation of the United Nations.
The United Nations was formed in 1945 after the culmination of the war. To improve the organization and avoid the problems experienced by the League of Nations, the powers were split among the five major nations; US, UK, France, USSR and China (Ross 64)
4. Enormous Technological progress
The world war two lead to new inventions in military. For example, The British developed the Radar which became a forerunner of TV. Other developments include the development of new medicines to fight diseases.
5. Boost to Nationalism
World War two weakened most colonial thus leading decolonization in Africa and Asia. The colonial empires crumbled because of their inability of the colonial powers to control the colonies.
Overy, J. The Origins of Second World War. New York: Pearson Longman, 2008.Print.
Ross, Stewart. Causes and Consequences of Second World War. London: Evans Brothers
Limited, 2005. Print.